The lovely Christmas markets of Northern France are a great reason to visit this delightful region for a pre-holiday getaway. The markets here have a very special atmosphere and will certainly get you into the Christmas spirit. Of course the shopping is fun with a mix of products you know and love, and some that are more French in flavour. This means you can often find items you won’t see in the UK or elsewhere in Europe . What a great opportunity to purchase some unique gifts for family and friends.
Being France you’re of course assured of finding wine, beer, chocolate and cheese at bargain prices.
Here’s a list of a few markets that are close to the car ferry port in Calais so from the minute you arrive on the Dover ferry, you’ll be only a few more minutes from a great shopping experience.
The Amien Christmas market is open from the 22nd November to the 28th December is one of the largest in northern France. Amien is a wonderful city and you’ll drive through lovely French countryside getting there. Apart from some great food products and treats for Christmas, like almond and honey macaroons, there’s an open air ice rink, fun fair, singing and shows. The French love light shows and this one is particularly mesmerizing, lighting up the beautiful cathedral, just one of the World Heritage Sites in Amien. Ensure you take time to explore the cultural side of the city as well as the shops!
From the 29th November to the 29th December this busy market offers around 60 stalls at the Grand Place with its old bell tower and lovely old arcades
Boulogne is a great place for fish restaurants so make sure you interrupt your shopping with a bit of lunch – smoked herring is a specialty. The Christmas market is held within the old city walls making it one of the loveliest in the area. It’s particularly easy to get to from the Dover to Calais ferry terminal. Look out for the local arts and crafts, pastries and other delicacies.
This is obviously the easiest to get to when arriving on one of the France ferries. The market, which consists of about 100 stalls, can be found at the Theatre Square and along the main shopping streets. Again there are some local specialties and unique arts and crafts for Christmas presents.
This is more of a winter wonderland than a market as they really go to town when it comes to creating a great Christmas atmosphere with music, lights and street entertainment. It’s a lovely coastal town and a very easy drive from the car ferry terminal at Calais.
This is the largest Christmas market in northern France, attracting almost a million visitors. The focal point is Place Rihour and all the streets leading off it with the Grand Place being transformed by a big Ferris wheel, enormous Christmas tree, magical illuminations, carols and a seasonal aroma. It’s open from the 20th November to the 30th December.
Reims is in the Champagne region so you can really indulge yourself as well as explore this great city that’s full of history, including UNESCO World Heritage sites. The Christmas Village, made up of 125 chalets, can be found at Place d’Erion. Delicacies of course include Champagne and chocolates, some of which are filled with Champagne! The street entertainers bring the festivities to life with magicians, bands and carol singers. Santa Claus has his very own chalet to meet the children.